YARMOUTH, Maine, Aug. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Storm season is here and that can be a stressful time for pets and their owners. Yarmouth Veterinary Center in Yarmouth, Maine, understands what a trying time this can be and seeks to educate pet owners on methods to not only keep their pets safe during the stormy days ahead, but also how to keep them calm during thunderstorms. Storm fears or phobias are more common among dogs than cats, though both animals can experience them to some degree. The more pet owners know about the condition, the better able they will be to keep their pets safe and feeling protected.
"Storm fears are a big concern for pet owners," warns Dr. Louise LeBoeuf of Yarmouth Veterinary Center in Yarmouth, Maine. "One of the most common reactions pets have," she goes on to say, "Particularly those left outside during storms, is to run away." This is one reason that veterinarians are so adamant about the benefits of having pets microchipped – so they can be returned to their owners once the storm passes.
"The initial cause of storm fears in pets is not always known," says Dr. LeBoeuf. "In some pets it's the loud noise while others find the lightning disconcerting. It can also be things that humans do not pick up on as easily, such as changes in barometric pressure or smells associated with the storms that trigger the fear response in pets."
Regardless of the reason for the fear of storms, it's a very real fear in pets that can trigger a fight or flight response. Look for signs that pets are afraid. These signs include things like hiding (most common among cats), pacing, digging, drooling, seeking comfort from the owner, trembling, dilated pupils, panting, chewing, urinating, defecating, refusing food, and vocalizations.
"Pet owners who notice these signs should talk to their veterinarian," says Dr. LeBoeuf. "We can offer help to reduce pet fears and anxiety from behavioral training to medications – and sometimes a combination of the two."
Before resorting to medications, though, Dr. LeBoeuf recommends changing the environment of the pet so that the pet is less aware of what's going on outside. Also, provide a safe place for pets, such as a crate or pet bed in a small room or closet. Another suggestion is to add white noise into the mix in an effort to calm the pet.
Finally, Dr. LeBoeuf encourages pet owners to remain level and calm throughout the storms themselves, saying "Pets often feed off the emotions of their owners. If they see the owner become agitated or nervous over the storm (or anything else at this time), it will feed their own nerves and anxiety."
About Yarmouth Veterinary Hospital
Yarmouth Veterinary Hospital is located on Willow Street in Yarmouth, Maine, and serves preventative and emergency veterinary care to area pets.
CONTACT: Yarmouth Veterinary Hospital, (207) 482-0493Source: Yarmouth Veterinary Center